Studies have asserted that condom use can be effective at protecting against pregnancy and STI infection in some instances by up to 98%. However, – condom health risks while not given as much publicity, are a reality. Condoms are not effective to the same degree for different STIs or when used inconsistently.
Health risks that condom use presents.
Risk of Contracting STIs
When used correctly and consistently condoms can prevent HIV infection by between 98-99%. Condom use also prevents the transmission of other STIs such as Herpes, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis, and Syphilis by between 50-80% according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
However, condoms are not so effective at protecting persons against sexually transmitted diseases such as molluscum contagiosum and scabies that affect the outer skin layers.
According to the American Social Health Association, while condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting herpes, persons can still be infected given that they do not protect every part of the skin, from which the asymptomatic shedding and transmission of the virus could occur.
Severe allergic reactions to latex
The CDC estimates that between 1-6% of the population has a latex allergy. Since most condoms are made from latex, some people will have allergic reactions when using them.
While very rare, the effects of latex allergies may vary from mild to very severe. The more severe ones include light-headedness, dizziness, swelling, and wheezing. In mild cases, persons will experience flushes, itching, hives, running nose, and sneezing.
One of the very pronounced condom health risks may involve anaphylaxis, a very severe and life-threatening condition resulting from latex allergies.
While persons with allergies are advised to use synthetic condoms, such condoms have higher probabilities of breaking during the act as compared to latex condoms, thus putting the person at risk of STIs.
Risk of pregnancy
For the most part, condoms are used to prevent unwanted pregnancies, as they are very effective in preventing conception.
However, according to Planned Parenthood, 2% of women will get pregnant over the course of a year even with consistent condom use. The same study finds that inconsistent condom use is responsible for up to 15% of pregnancies.
Inconsistent and improper use can cause the condoms to weaken and break resulting in pregnancies.
Cancers as new – condom health risks
According to a study by The Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Institute in Stuttgart, latex condoms contain N-Nitrosamine – a carcinogen highly linked to cancer.
Similarly, Talc, a dry lubricant causes fibrosis in the fallopian tubes and ovarian cancer that can make the woman infertile.
Given that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of Talc on surgical gloves, it is inexplicable why it is still in use given the health risks it poses.